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The How-To Magazine

JANUARY 2019 | s i g n s h o p.co m

winning

SIGN BUILDER

illustrated

SIGN package

HOW TO VEHICLE WRAPS, WAYFIND design


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Contents JANUARY 2019

Vol. 33

No. 283

How-To Columns

15 17 20

28

BLAZING THE PRINT TRAIL

By Lori Shridhare The path to a diversified business model.

MINIATURE VEHICLE GRAPHICS

By Malcolm Geiske The toy gift that involves lots of wrapping.

EMPLOYEE RETENTION

By John Hackley The costly importance of keeping workers.

departments

8

12 42 44

EDITOR’S COLUMN

Editor Jeff Wooten ponders the role that artificial intelligence will soon be making in your sign lives.

IN THE INDUSTRY

Nine LED video displays are a big hit on a resort casino’s exterior, a survey finds that sign and graphics wages are up, and a tank-inspired Mustang wrap rides for veterans.

Sign Show

Features

24

The newest products and services from sign manufacturers.

SBI Marketplace

Advertisements and announcements from the sign trade.

Shop Talk

Over the seventy-five years of ISA’s existence, David Hickey looks at how regulations remain a constant.

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28 32

34

39 Sign Builder Illustrated

January 2019

REACHING FOR INFO

By Jim Cirigliano What sign shops need to know about using crane trucks and aerial lifts.

THE ROAD TO WRAPPING

By SBI Staff For one sign shop, vehicle graphics continue to evolve.

DIMENSIONAL SIGNAGE SPOTLIGHT

37

2

A SURE SIGN BET

By Ashley Bray Teamwork and ingenuity give Derby City Gaming jackpot-winning signage.

3D PRINTING: ADDING A NEW DIMENSION

By Matan Weinstein The writing is on the wall for traditional channel letters.

STOREFRONT: ‘TIS THE SEASON FOR DIMENSIONAL

By Brenda Murphy-Niederkorn Exterior signs weather the elements for a seasonal pop-up store.

PYLON: HISTORIC PROJECT

By Ashley Bray A solar sign shines bright.

signshop.com

​Cover Photo: ThinkSIGN.

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WHERE DESIGN MEETS INNOVATION

Project: University of Michigan Lawyers Club Preferred Fabricator: Dixie Graphics

BRING YOUR ACCESSIBLE SIGN SOLUTIONS IN-HOUSE INCREASE PROFITABILITY w w w. n ova p o l y m e r s.c o m /R O I


January 2019, Vol. 33, No. 283 Sign Builder Illustrated (ISSN 0895-0555) print, (ISSN 2161-0709) digital is published by Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation

Subscriptions: 800-895-4389

executive offices President and Chairman Arthur J. McGinnis, Jr. Publisher Arthur J. Sutley 55 Broad Street, 26th floor New York, NY 10004 212-620-7247 ; Fax: 212-633-1863

editorial Editor Jeff Wooten 323 Clifton Street, Suite #7 Greenville, NC 27858 212-620-7244 jwooten@sbpub.com Managing Editor Ashley Bray 55 Broad Street, 26th Floor New York, NY 10004 212-620-7220 abray@sbpub.com Contributing Writers Jim Cirigliano, Malcolm Geiske, John Hackley, Brenda Murphy-Niederkorn, David Hickey, Lori Shridhare, Matan Weinstein

art Art Director Nicole D’Antona Graphic Designer Aleza Leinwand

production Corporate Production Director Mary Conyers

circulation Circulation Director Maureen Cooney mcooney@sbpub.com

advertising sales Associate Publisher/East Coast Sales Jeff Sutley 212-620-7233 jsutley@sbpub.com Mid-West & West Coast Sales Monica Boutros 212-620-7225 mboutros@sbpub.com Sign Builder Illustrated is published monthly. All rights reserved. Nothing herein may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher. To purchase PDF files of cover and layouts or hard copy reprints, please call Art Sutley at 212-620-7247 or e-mail asutley@sbpub.com.

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Editor’s Column

AGENDA

By Jeff Wooten

February 2019 FEBRUARY 20-22:

The Midwest Sign Association Winter Meeting takes place at the Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Airport in Louisville, Kentucky. (msassn.org)

FEBRUARY 22:

The Mid South Sign Association Presents “Ideas Exchange 2019.” This event will be occuring at Charles Hampton’s A-1 Signs Inc., in Burns/Dickson, Tennessee. (midsouthsignassociation.org)

March 2019

Artificial Reality

MARCH 26-29:

You can’t spell “sign maker” without “A” and “I.”

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manufacturers are excitedly starting to promise A.I. software that serves as robo-designers and robotics that better improve production efficiency. While this new frontier might sound scary, I think it’s a mistake to immediately start thinking of Hollywood-style doomsday scenarios when it comes to these advances in computer intelligence. Sure jokes about incoming “overlords” and “DEFCONs” make for great sci-fi conjecture, but the immediate reality is that A.I. and robotics are more along the lines of a helpful, complementary nature. At least for now. Recently departed comic book creator Stan Lee once wrote the immortal words, “With great power comes great responsibility.” So can some owners (in any industry) resist the urge down the road to replace a paid worker with a cheaper electronic alternative? Have you visited a McDonald’s® lately? I admit that I often get more and more worried about dehumanization and a little bit deflated when I see technology prioritized over employees. There’s just something about the human touch. One starts to wonder though what happens when the role of A.I. and robotics expands more into the workforce. How ready will we be at that time?

Jeff Wooten Editor, jwooten@sbpub.com

April 2019 APRIL 23-26:

International Sign Expo 2019 takes place at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. (signexpo.org)

May 2019 MAY 19-23:

LIGHTFAIR International, the world’s largest annual architectural and commercial lighting tradeshow and conference, sets up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (lightfair.com)

Photo: Shutterstock/ Phonlamai Photo.

L

ast month, I discussed how “convergence” was the buzzword for 2018; looking ahead, could artificial intelligence be the “it” trend of the very-near future? Or even today? Welcome to the Matrix! We’re now living in a world defined and dictated by algorithms. Your tastes and preferences are synced up to computer codes. Browse the Web and pop-up ads are tailored to your online searches. Scroll through social media and suggested pages to follow welcome you. Carry on a conversation on your smartphone and advertiser-related recommendations start piling up in your notifications. And did you know some companies are even using electronic tracking systems to monitor employee productivity? Patrick McGoohan shouted during the opening credits of his 1960s TV series The Prisoner, “I am a man, not a number!” Oh how wrong he would turn out to be some five decades later. I’ve been seen an increasing amount of PR and debate about the incoming flux of “artificial intelligence” into our personal and work lives. Human meets machine. Forty years ago, TV promised to build Col. Steve Austin (the Six Million Dollar Man, unadjusted for inflation) “better, faster, and stronger.” With today’s technology, smaller and medium-sized sign shops are also being built up into being “better, faster, and stronger.” We’ve already seen how CNC routers and digital flatbeds have revolutionized and quickened the sign production process. Now

Digital Signage Expo 2019 uploads at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. (digitalsignageexpo.net)

June 2019 JUNE 6-7:

The Midwest Sign Association’s Summer Meeting & Golf Midwest Sign Association Summer Meeting & Golf takes place at the Soaring Eagle Casino Resort in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. (msassn.org)

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In The Industry

Nine LED Displays are a Big Hit on

Casino’s Exterior

B

rookings, South Dakota— Visitors to Northern Quest Resort & Casino, a newly expanded, Vegas-style casino and entertainment destination near Spokane, Washington, are being greeted by more than 2,500 square feet of LED video displays that were recently manufactured by Daktronics (NASDAQ-DAKT) of Brookings, South Dakota, in conjunction with YESCO, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. This display project was part of a $20 million expansion completed this past summer that welcomes patrons to the growing resort property. The resulting nine-display installation is comparable in size to many spectacular LED video 8

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displays found in New York’s Times Square and on the Las Vegas Strip. “We considered a variety of LED display options before settling on a ninedisplay configuration that brings an impressive ‘wow’ factor to the exterior of our world-class resort,” said Northern Quest Resort & Casino Chief Marketing Officer Jen Mitchell. “In looking for an impressive, attention-grabbing design that complimented the new building’s architecture, while taking the exterior windows into account, we selected this fantastic video solution. “And we partnered with a great team, YESCO and Daktronics, who handle some of the largest LED video installations in the world.”

Creating a digital media façade, nine LED video displays are installed above the resort’s main entrance, and they are spaced in an eye-catching manner along the building’s exterior. All nine displays measure 24 feet high and feature 10-millimeter line spacing with SMD LED technology. Four displays measure 8.5 feet wide, three displays measure 15.5 feet wide, and the final two displays measure 12 feet wide. “We worked closely with the casino, ALSC Architects [also of Spokane], and Daktronics to bring the casino’s vision and design to fruition for a unique LED display application that entertains and advertises to customers,” signshop.com


ISA: Sign & Graphics Wages Up

A

lexandria , Virginia— According to the ISA Wage & Benefits Survey, created for the International Sign Association by the independent research firm Association Research Inc., sign, graphics, and visual communications industry jobs pay better than the average manufacturing job, and overall wages have increased in recent years. Major findings include: • Average pay increases for hourly employees (5.1 percent) slightly outpaced increases for salaried management employees (5.0 percent) and salaried administrative and operational employees (4.8 percent). • More than six in ten responding companies (63 percent) indicated that they planned to hire additional staff in the second half (July-December) of 2018. • Companies had more full-time equivalent employees (29.2) compared to the last survey conducted in 2015 (23). • Almost half of sales personnel (46.7%) receive salary and commission. The average commission rate is 7.9% for new sales and 6.8% of existing sales. This was down from 2015. The full report, as well as an executive summary and infographic, is available for purchase at signs.org/salary.

said Brent Smith, YESCO account executive and branch manager. “It was a very fulfilling process that began in late December of 2017 and ultimately resulted in a successful installation for the casino.” These Daktronics LED video displays, which offer a long lifetime and low power consumption, can be controlled to show individual content on each screen or can be used in a single-display manner with one piece of content spread across all nine displays for a unified look and presentation. These digital displays at the casino can promote current and upcoming shows being held at the facility, or they can advertise venue specials, room rates, signshop.com

dining options, shopping attractions, experiential tribal and holiday entertainment, and much more. “Northern Quest’s venue and LED signage rivals the largest, most wellknown casinos in Las Vegas and throughout the United States,” said Tye Dato, Daktronics sales representative. “These video displays combine to form the largest 10-millimeter installation in the Pacific Northwest and offer a very unique aspect for advertisers and to entice visitors to the venue.” Dato adds, “It was a pleasure to work with YESCO and Northern Quest [in order] to bring their vision to life for this LED project.” For more details, visit daktronics.com.

Photo (right): Shutterstock/ Bankrx

these video displays combine to form the largest 10-millimeter installation in the pacific northwest.

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In The Industry

Tank-inspired Mustang

Rides for Veterans

C

os Cob, Connecticut— Tim Jonas, owner of vehicle wrapping business Nomad Wraps in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Matt Crane, lead designer at Demented Graphics in Jupiter, Florida, recently partnered with Wrap for a Cause and the Lutz Live to Tell Foundation to create and install a U.S. military tank-inspired wrap for a 2013 Ford Mustang GT just in time for Veterans Day. The vehicle was wrapped in Matte Military Green and featured the Lutz Live to Tell logo as well as the hashtag #Wrap4Veterans. The Lutz Live to Tell Foundation was started after Founder Janine Lutz’s son, Janos V. Lutz, a Lance Corporal in the U.S. Marines who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, took his own life due to the detrimental effects of PTSD and over-prescribed medication. The Foundation organizes nationwide awareness campaigns and advocates for veterans’ interests in local and state government. One result of their advocacy is a partnership with local Florida municipalities to implement Vet-Connect, a tool for first responders that builds a bridge between law enforcement/first responders, veterans, and local resources. In March 2014, Lutz also started a

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support system for veterans in Davie, Florida. The concept of Lutz Buddy Up is simple—connect veterans locally by building a network of comrades who form life-long bonds by providing peer support, community building, and overall well being. What began as a small group of four veterans encouraging each other has swelled into a respected organization (with over 500 members in the Broward, Florida chapter alone). The mission of non-profit Wrap for a Cause (wrapforacause.org) is to help local and national non-profit organizations create awareness with a memorable, viral campaign that raises funds and awareness using vehicle wraps featuring their logos and hashtags through sponsorship opportunities with area businesses or universities. “I admire Janine in her mission to turn great personal tragedy into social good,” said Wrap for a Cause Founder Laura Saggese. “And that’s why Wrap for a Cause is honored to partner with her organization, the LCpl Janos V Lutz Live to Tell Foundation. Janine is a proud Marine mom. What’s sobering is that her son did not lose his life on the battlefield but here at home.” Jonas and Crane are strong support-

ers of the Lutz Live to Tell Foundation. It was their desire to promote the foundation’s mission that secured a partnership between Wrap for a Cause and the Lutz Live to Tell organization. “My grandfathers, uncle, and close friends have all served in the military, and Matt’s father is a veteran,” said Jonas. “As business owners, we want to support veterans and first responders. My close friend, Steve Gelles, is an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran who introduced me to the Lutz Live to Tell Foundation. When I saw Wrap for a Cause’s strong veteran campaigns on Instagram, I felt pressed to reach out.” The wrapped Mustang debuted at the renowned Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Florida State Rally, held at the Seminole Harley Davidson in Sanford, Florida on November 9. It then motored on to the Cars and Coffee Palm Beach motor vehicle show on November 11 followed by the fifth-annual Patriot Run from West Palm Beach to Key Largo, Florida, on November 17. “Tim and Matt’s dedication to our servicemen and women is inspiring,” said Saggese. “Not only [did] they design and install the wrap at incredible speed, [but] they [donated] the cost of their service.” signshop.com


Sign Show BANNERS/MATERIALS/EQUIPMENT Install Grommets into Thick Leather and Similar Materials with a New Hand Press The ClipsShop ® CSTEP-2 Hand Grommet Press from METALgrommets.com is a portable, easy-to-operate metal grommet hand press that features an ergonomic forceadvantaged lever with a comfortable foam handle that creates 1,200 pounds of attachment force. This new, seventh-generation hand press has an adjustable bottom stop that prevents over-crimping and assures consistent and repeatable grommet applications. Ideal for low-volume industrial and commercial users, the ClipsShop CSTEP-2 Hand Grommet Press uses interchangeable self-piercing dies and effortlessly punches extra-large eyelets of #7.5 (25 mm), #8.5 (28 mm), and even #12 (40 mm) grommets. The attachment force is 65 percent greater than other small hand presses. Options include an alignment fixture and an LED a l i g n m e n t p o i n te r. METALgrommets.com

LED MODULES/TUBES/STRIPS SloanLED’s PosterBOX Mini is the Most Flexible Poster Box Product Yet SloanLED announces the availability of its new PosterBOX Mini, a cost-effective, edge-lit cabinet lighting solution for lightbox applications as shallow as two inches deep. Designed with sign makers in mind, PosterBOX Mini gives installers unprecedented freedom with adjustable spacing and an innovative design that accommodates shallow light boxes of any shape—making it the bright choice for a variety of applications (including indoor textile prints, movie posters, and cabinets using FlexFace®). PosterBOX Mini washes light across single- and double-sided displays using FanFlare™ lens technology that optimizes the light inside the box. PosterBOX Mini is available in 6500K and comes with SloanLED’s 10-Year Limited Product and Labor Warranty. sloanled.com/collection/signage/sign-cabinet-box-signage

ACRYLICS/PLASTICS A Colorful New Material for Dimensional Sign Design Gemini, manufacturer of the Duets® line of premium plastic engraving material, has introduced Duets Accents™, a line of colorful, cell-cast acrylic sheet material that can be used for engraving, decorative accent, or as a dimensional design component in wayfinding, ADA, and architectural signage. The single-ply material features an array of contemporary colors in transparent, translucent, and opaque color choices. The translucent and opaque color selections feature a non-glare, matte finish on one side and a gloss finish on the other, while the transparent tinted colors feature a gloss finish on both sides that mimics the look of color-tinted glass. This material provides the appearance of colored glass with half the weight and vastly improved durability and safety against breakage. All Duets Accents color choices are available in 1/8-inch thickness, with selected colors also offered in 1/4-inch for ADAcompliant signs. The material is laser- and rotarycompatible and comes in full sheets of 24-by-49 inches. The product is UV stable, making it equally suited for indoor or outdoor use. GeminiSignProducts.com

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WORLD’S

MIGHTIEST

SIGNAGE MAGAZINE! Sign Builder Illustrated is the “how-to magazine” of the sign industry. Each issue includes SBI’s signature “how-to” columns and features with detailed, step-by-step instructions covering a wide range of signage. SBI’s website (signshop.com), newsletters, Buyer’s Guide, and digital edition keep you updated with timely news, recent projects, and upcoming industry events.

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ILLUSTRATED


Sign Show ROUTERS/ENGRAVERS Trotec Adds LaserPaper to its Expanding Laserable Materials Line LaserPaper from Trotec Laser, Inc., is a heavy-duty, laserfriendly paper that produces high-quality results when printed, laser cut, and laser engraved. Available in a variety of shades and gsm weights, LaserPaper provides a high level of contrast when laser engraved and a crisp, clean edge when laser cut. Developed for high-quality laser processing, LaserPaper products include LaserPaper Colors, LaserPaper Synthetic, and LaserPaper Wood. LaserPaper Colors are available in a variety of different shades and thicknesses and are especially suitable for laser processing because they are non-fading and easily fold and bend to create shapes. LaserPaper Synthetic paper products combine maximum strength and durability with excellent laser cutting properties. LaserPaper Wood features a real wood surface with a white cardstock backing for the look, feel, and processing characteristics of wood combined with the flexibility and printing characteristics of heavy paper. trotec-materials.com

VISIT

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How To

WAYFINDING

By LORI SHRIDHARE

Blazing the Print Trail The path to a diversified business model.

All Photos: Cushing.

J

ust a month before the stock market crash that led to the Great Depression of 1929, a former delivery truck driver named F. John Cushing Sr., bought a company called National Blueprint in Chicago. Despite this unfortunate timing, the company survived for ninety years to the present day, keeping up with the changing printing and signage needs requested by a diverse clientele. And the business enjoyed unique neighbors—the office of Chicago Bears was based just above Cushing’s for nearly two decades. Other fun facts in this company’s history include opening the first on-site printing center in Chicago during the 1970s and, shortly after, making available color copying services for the first time to local customers. Today Cushing (cushingco.com) is designated as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), led by company president of thirty years Cathleen Cushing Duff.

signshop.com

Since its early pioneering efforts, the company has moved from specializing in blueprints, Diazo paper, and drafting rolls to offering full sign manufacturing services, including wayfinding. “As Cushing began offering environmental branding such as wall graphics, dimensional lettering, and privacy film, wayfinding became a part of the conversation. Beyond branding the office, customers would inquire about directional signage,” says Color Production Supervisor Julia Kaufman. Cushing’s clients have included hospitals that have requested wayfinding graphics installed on the floors of mechanical rooms and universities that have needed embedded directional signage to complement their vinyl wall graphics. “More companies want to incorporate aesthetics into their wayfinding and give them an element of style,” says Kaufman. “And they are looking for some help in understanding where they

might take the project. “We do our best to offer up knowledge based on past experience.” When considering wayfinding signage, materials that have worked well for Cushing’s clients include acrylic, Sintra®, and Dibond®. “These are the more durable materials used for permanent installations as they hold up to ‘wear and tear’ from employees, tenants, and guests who traffic buildings,” she says. “Mixed media can make graphics look a bit more personalized, though, and often have a more high-end feel.” In choosing the color, style, and amount of text on each element of the wayfinding program, Kaufman recommends considering many factors, including location and the type of business and or/facility. “There is not one set of rules that applies to every installation,” she says. “For example, a new apartment building may

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How To WAYFINDING

By LORI SHRIDHARE

Use Site

SURVEYS

Create “editable”

SIGNAGE

Use changeable

want to be bright and visible. But maybe a hospital doesn’t want neon orange graphics at the entrance! “Think about the users of your signage—how will the wayfinding signage assist them? Are you keeping it simple, easy to read, and clean? Functionality is key in many instances.” When it comes to challenges with creating wayfinding signage, look no further than mistakes regarding direction. “Make sure directional signs are properly positioned,” advises Kaufman. “This can be a detail that unintentionally gets overlooked.” For a recent digitally printed wayfinding project with the University of Illinois Chicago, Kaufman points out directional arrows were embedded in the design. “If the designer does not have on hand the final plans or scope of a hallway, and the arrows on the sign are pointing in the wrong directions,” she says, “it’s not always an easy fix.” In order to enhance the process of manufacturing and installing wayfinding signage, Kaufman follows these simple guidelines: • Use site surveys. These are critical since obstructions may be discovered too late. A visit prior to the installation can ensure the signs fit exactly the way they are supposed to. • Create “editable” signage. Considering the fact that all the tenants listed on a directory won’t be in the building

think about the users of your signage. are you keeping wayfinding simple, easy to read, and clean? forever, how will the signage be edited? • Incorporate changeable frames and mounts. Use a substrate that lends itself to temporary projects, for example, a snap frame. And instead of direct printing, use a mounted print. You can even incorporate stand-offs into the actual design of the mounted print to add further “stand-out” attraction. • Provide a diagram or floor plan. Be sure to share this with the designer. Finally Kaufman advises that in the end, simplicity wins over complexity. “It’s not a bad idea to keep simple text and simple wording,” she says. And don’t forget that graphics need to perform a function. “Ultimately it’s about creating wayfinding that’s easy to use and helps guests find the office, department, or room they need to get to,” says Kaufman.

FRAMES

Provide a

FLOOR PLAN 16

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Miniature Vehicle Graphics The toy gift that involves lots of wrapping.

All Photos: iDWrapscom.

O

ur company’s partnership with the Sands Event Center, located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, brought us the unique project that you see pictured above—wrapped toys! The last toy I got to wrap using printed vinyl (and not gift paper) was a Tonka® truck for my sons over four years ago, yet here we were doing it again. Actually this project involved toy Volkswagen (VW) Bus wraps that we created for world-famous comedian Gabriel Iglesias, whom has been one of the biggest hits at the Sands. He has sold out the entire facility at every one of his six shows. As a special “thank you” to the comedian, the Sands Event Center marketing team enlisted our IDWraps crew to create an exceptionally creative gift for him. Gabriel is a car buff and has a specific affinity for classic VW Buses, so they signshop.com

By MALCOLM GIESKE

wanted us to outfit six die-cast custom model vans with unique graphics on each featuring the sold-out show dates. We started with a quick search online for models that closely resembled the VW Buses Gabriel has in his collection. Upon receipt of the VW Bus models, our next step was to perform a precision survey of these miniature buses. Sure we could simply shrink down our pre-existing vehicle design template of a full-size VW Bus, but we chose not to take chances on any dimensional deviations that may exist on the toy versions. All it takes is one door handle to be out of place and in the way of small text or images that may distort going over such dimensional features. Our head designer, Nikki Humenik, then modified Gabriel’s existing show poster art to fit our custom layout template for these small VW buses. From there, the proofs were presented to the client for approval.

Printing was done on one of our HP L360 latex printers using 3M’s Envision IJ480MC. The Envision product was selected due to its high level of conformability, along with its stretchability. The tiny size of the scaled model surface features and raised objects warranted the added assurance of a film that can be stretched up to 150 percent. Throw in the fact that this film is often heated and rolled onto difficult textured surfaces, and we knew that the IJ480 was a good choice. One’s natural inclination may be to think that it is just an “easy to wrap” little toy van. Not! The installation process was rather tedious, considering the size of the applications. A quality die-cast model has all the usual obstacles that we have to work around—only at a much tinier size. A show-quality finish requires a super-steady hand and attention to detail. Being 1/20th scale means that a small slip has 20-times the impact on these

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How To

VEHICLE WRAPS By MALCOLM GIESKE

miniature graphics. All facets of the application, from the handling of the small prints to the trimming, required extra care. As an installer, many of us are accustomed to trimming vinyl around reasonably sized shapes. When it comes to small vehicle models, a slightly jagged cut that may be normally acceptable on a full-sized vehicle stands out like a significant eye sore. Upon delivery, Gabriel was quite surprised by the six custom model die-cast vans and was elated! It’s got to be tough to find a gift for a celebrity. Once again, though, the vehicle wrap industry was ready, as always, to knock anyone’s socks off. Malcolm Gieske is PDAA Master/3M UASG Certified Installer at Identity Group, Inc. (IDWraps.com).

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WE’RE HERE TO ANSWER THE CALL! Sign Builder Illustrated is the “how-to magazine” of the sign industry. Each issue includes SBI’s signature “how-to” columns and features with detailed, stepby-step instructions covering a wide range of signage. SBI’s website (signshop.com), newsletters, Buyer’s Guide, and digital edition keep you updated with timely news, recent projects, and upcoming industry events.

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ILLUSTRATED

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How To BUSINESS HDU MANAGEMENT By JEFF WOOTEN

By JOHN HACKLEY

Employee Retention

H

iring might be considered a very simple, quick process— find, interview, hire, assign job, forget, and hope the employee works out. But the reality is that it is not. It takes work and a methodical approach before “the right” candidate can be hired, and the consequences of getting the wrong one are extreme. Employee retention is the second part of the equation, and if the first part isn’t done well, it’s an automatic loss. So it pays to heed that employee turnover is costly! A departing employee, assuming there is no severance pay, is still an out-ofpocket expense for the business. There are multiple costs and huge amounts of time associated with a departing employee including: recruiting, training, lost productivity during employment, recruiting costs incurred again in hiring a replacement; and training a replacement. In addition to these tangible costs, there are intangible factors that can equal-

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ly affect a company in a negative way: the morale of other employees, disruption of business, and lost intellectual talent. When you add up the numbers, it can easily amount to tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue and months or years of delayed progress in your business plan. Finding the right candidate is easier said than done. It is more than posting a position on a job site or getting a referral from a current employee. The recruiting process and subsequent interviews are important factors leading to employee retention and should be taken with due diligence. The interview should be more than simply reviewing someone’s credentials and experience to learn if he or she has the requisite skills to adequately handle the assigned job responsibilities. The “right” candidate is the person who not only has the required skills but is also the “right fit.” Can the candidate

quickly adapt to the company culture? Will their personality gel with current employees? Are their moral values the same as others in the company? Multiple interviewers should talk with the candidate, ask probing questions, speak with references, and compare notes after the process is completed and before the candidate is hired. When the right candidate is found, it can be a home run for the new employee and the company. But to retain the employee long-term, more must be done. While employee turnover is costly, the reverse is true for employee tenure. It not only reduces costs but also increases company efficiency. Rather than hiring and firing or hiring and quitting, a business objective should be hiring and retaining.

John Hackley is CEO for Oculus Business Coaching (oculuscoaching.net). signshop.com

Photo: Shutterstock/Jirsak.

The costly importance of keeping workers.


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SIGN PROGRAM By ASHLEY BRAY

A Sure

C

SIGN BET

hurchill Downs Incorporated opened the new Derby City Gaming in Louisville, Kentucky this past September. The historical racing machine facility is an 85,000-square-foot, $65 million complex featuring 900 state-of-the-art historical racing machines; two quickservice, walk-up food venues; and a bar with seating for fifty and large format televisions for guests to take in all the best sporting action year-round.

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To complete this winning project, a number of outdoor signs were needed, including channel letters, three digital wall signs, and a double-sided monument with a digital sign. To handle the sign work, Churchill Downs brought in Rueff Signs of Louisville, Kentucky. This was no gamble as Churchill Downs has worked with Rueff Signs on other past sign projects. Rueff Signs (rueffsigns.com) has been in business since 1912, when Project

Manager Carl Rueff’s great-great uncle started up the business. He convinced his brother, Carl’s great-grandfather, to sell his grocery store and get involved in signs, and the rest is history. Today the family-owned, full-service sign company can fabricate and install just about any sign and even still fabricates and restores neon signs. The company specializes in large and unique custom signage and has done everything from monument signs to signshop.com


CDI [Churchill Downs].” ThinkSIGN has been manufacturing LED electronic message centers for more than twenty years. The company also offers proprietary software to manage and create content for its signs. Paul Hughes, national sales manager, says, “We are 100-percent wholesale. We strictly partner with sign companies, and we don’t sell to the end-user. We also deliver very quickly, which is favorable to signage partners and their cash flow. And our software is extremely easy to use. That has value in the market.” Also involved in the project were Calhoun Construction, which served as general contractor on the job, and Matriarch Sign Solutions, which designed the aesthetic aspects of the signage elements. Rueff Signs made decisions on what materials to use, how to bring electric to all illuminated components, and the engineering on how to install the signs.

All Photos: ThinkSIGN.

Teamwork and ingenuity give Derby City Gaming jackpotwinning signage. custom sign cabinets and letters to large channel letters on high rises. The project for Derby City Gaming required them to put some of that custom work and problem solving to good use. Rueff Signs was tasked with supplying and installing five sets of channel letters—two sets on the monument sign, three freestanding sets at the entrances, and one large main set on the building façade. The sign shop was also responsible for gathering bids for the digital signshop.com

signage elements—three digital wall displays and one double-sided digital sign for the monument—and presenting them to Churchill Downs for selection. ThinkSIGN (thinksign.com) ended up with the winning digital signage bid. “This was a very competitive project,” says Joey Summers, regional sales manager at ThinkSIGN. “Our quality, production time, and ability to locally support helped us win this prominent nearby project. We are happy to serve

Bet 1: Channel Letters Rueff Signs hand-formed all five sets of channel letters out of aluminum and painted the returns black with AkzoNobel Grip-Gard paint. The sign faces were fabricated out of white polycarbonate. Colored translucent ORAFOL vinyl was applied to the sign faces for the rose and horseshoe portions of the channel letter sets. White Principal LED Fusion CL 3™ modules were used in all five sets of channel letters. On the largest set— where the letters measure five feet, six inches tall—double the amount of LEDs were used to make them brighter. The largest set of letters also required special UL listings. “We had to get individual UL listings for each one because each one had its own power supply— they weren’t on a raceway or anything,” explains Rueff. “They all had power supplies internally mounted. And then we had to do the wiring from the outside because [Derby City Gaming] had a finished wall on the inside. “So we had to get conduit that would match the façade, and then we put that in the seams of the material of the façade to hide it.” Installing the large channel letters was also a unique process because the façade

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lifted each face into place on a steel structure. “That was attached with 90-degree painted steel angles, and then we attached ThinkSIGN’s angles onto that. So we had to get precise measurements so that their LED cabinets would line up,” says Rueff.

A double-sided, 10mm digital display sits atop a monument made of white brick.

was made of materials from Trespa, a premier developer of high-quality, highpressure laminate panels for exterior cladding and decorative façades. “You can’t penetrate it with fasteners, due to expansion and contraction issues, unless you first make a 5/8-inch hole for every fastener,” says Rueff. “So we had to drill larger holes and then center our fasteners in those holes. This keeps the Trespa from ever touching our fasteners, regardless of contraction and expansion.” To install the large set of channel letters, Rueff Signs used its 57-foot SkyHoist SX57 with a two-man basket on a 2009 International truck. For the three sets of freestanding channel letters, Rueff Signs built custom four-by-four-inch raceways for attachment, and the shop installed those raceways to a steel structure that was provided by Calhoun Construction. Bet 2: Monument For the monument sign, Rueff Signs was responsible for installing the digital sign as well as creating and installing the sets of channel letters on each side. Calhoun Construction fabricated the monument from white brick, while Rueff Signs attached the two sets of channel letters to the brick monument with Tapcon® fasteners. For the installation of the 15-foot-highby-10-foot-wide, double-sided 10mm digital sign from ThinkSIGN, Rueff Signs 26

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Bet 3: Digital Wall Displays The digital displays on Derby City Gaming’s façade proved to be the part of the project that required the most ingenuity. Fabrication went smoothly as ThinkSIGN manufactured the three displays over a few weeks, with each 10mm display measuring 30 feet high-by-10 feet wide. (Note: With the three wall displays and the double-sided monument display, ThinkSIGN provided 1,050 square feet of 10mm SMD digital signage.) The challenge then lay in figuring out how to attach the three digital signs into recessed spaces on Derby City Gaming’s façade. Rueff Signs and Calhoun Construction decided to use a cleat system. Further adding to the challenge was that the digital displays were a modular system, and each of the three displays had to be assembled from four sections. They couldn’t be built on the wall since it was a recessed space. “We had to get them all in place before they went on the wall because you had to wire everything up behind them, and you couldn’t do that after you installed them because there was a finished wall on the inside,” says Rueff. “Then the other problem was we had to get them all lined up onto one unit and install them, because if you installed one at a time, they might not all line up.” The signs were too large to ship fully assembled to the job site, and they couldn’t be built on the ground and lifted to a vertical position. “It was decided and suggested by Rueff Signs that we build a frame ten feet off the wall,” says Hughes. “Then we affixed the four sections of the signs to the frame.” Rueff Signs engineered and constructed a 30-foot-tall-by-10-foot-wide steel frame. “The four sections were affixed to the steel frame while it was welded off the side of the wall,” explains Hughes. “That allowed us to not only put the sign together vertically, but it allowed us to do the wiring and the

necessary communication cabling and grounding before the final lift of the entire sign went into place.” Since the signs weighed approximately 3,000 pounds each, Rueff Signs had to use an industrial crane from Maxim Crane Works to lift them into place onto the cleat system. “On the wall, we had five receiving angles—two of them were 90-degree angles and three of them were 45-degree angles,” says Rueff. “The three in the middle that were 45-degree angles acted as cleats and caught the display and kept it there. Those angles had to be that way, because you couldn’t bolt once we installed it. So there had to be something that kept it in place, and that’s friction and gravity on those 45-degree angles. And then the top and the bottom are the 90-degree angles where we could put bolts. “It took more time to put the LEDs onto the frames and set all the frames up than it did to install the actual signs. We had all three signs installed in one day.” As if the install wasn’t challenging enough, installers had to finish the last digital display in the rain. ThinkSIGN had already walked Churchill Downs’ marketing team through the pixel matrix of their new sign configurations, so once the displays were up and running, Churchill Downs had content ready to go. Winners’ Circle In the end, the signage project may have been challenging, but it was a winning bet for all parties involved. “It took a lot of communication and a lot of teamwork and collaboration between Calhoun, Rueff, and ThinkSIGN to make sure this went up on time and accurately,” says Hughes. “We always appreciate doing large and difficult jobs,” says Rueff. “It’s something that motivates us as a company—to have something large and difficult to work on, wrap our brains around, and really give a good team effort in accomplishing.”

To see more photos, visit https://bit.ly/2GszSfy. signshop.com


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Feature TRUCKS SERVICE Name By JIM Author CIRIGLIANO

Reaching for Info

“I

n the sign industry, crane trucks and aerial lifts are most generally utilized to perform sign maintenance or sign installation,” says Jerry Monahan, Western Regional business manager at Manitex. “Smaller trucks that are more compact and can be set up in smaller spaces are designed to cater to sign maintenance, while the larger units with heavier lifting capabilities can be used 28

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for both construction and maintenance.” Many other industries use crane and aerial truck products as well—including construction, utilities, airports, amusement parks, and mining and oil refineries—so a sign company could also supplement a down market with any job a crane company would typically do. “The capacities need to be maintained, but some examples would be an

air-conditioning installation, roof truss handling, and cargo moving,” suggests Mark Kruger, Altec Lights and Signs sales manager. Three keys to efficient operation of crane trucks on the job site are planning, safety, and weight capacity. “Pre-lift planning is essential to safe lifting operations,” says Phil Doud, Altec Sentry Trainer. “In addition to helping signshop.com

All Photos: Altec.

What sign shops need to know about using crane trucks and aerial lifts.


operators stay within lift capacity values, proper lift planning can help identify the best place to set up the crane and avoid time-consuming unit relocations during the job.” Doud points out workers should avoid any hazards found during the survey. “Energized power lines or components are a particular concern, since there is usually some electrical component on or near the work area,” he says. “OSHA requires that cranes maintain a twentyfoot clearance from energized conductors (up to 50kV).” Personnel safety is another critical factor. If personnel will be working in an elevated location, Doud stresses the importance of properly inspecting, wearing, and attaching their personal fall protection equipment to an appropriate fall arrest or restraint anchor point. “Always use rigging and slings that are in good condition, have legible manufacturer’s capacity tags attached, and have been inspected prior to use,” he says. “Never exceed the capacity of any rigging.” Equipment providers are required to include capacity limits on their products, and it’s critical, both for the success of a sign installation project and the safety of the installers, that the weight of the load is properly gauged beforehand. “The most accurate and efficient method of accomplishing this is to acquire a dynamometer to weigh the load to be lifted so that the load chart on the crane can be properly interpreted and utilized,” suggests Monahan. Doud urges operators to not exceed capacity at any point. “The result could be crane instability, structural damage, or both,” he says.

outriggers leveling on uneven or soft ground and always use tag lines on each end of the load so that personnel on the ground can stabilize the load and help set it in place.” As with any outdoor crane operation, weather can be a factor to consider as well. “Check that wind gusts are within allowable parameters according to the manufacturer,” adds Monahan. “If there are high wind gusts or lightning in the area, the lifting activity should be suspended until the weather clears.” Open Spaces Installing signage with crane trucks over open spaces can present its own unique challenges. “Set up as close to the building front as possible and ensure there are no overhead obstructions,” recommends Monahan. “Make sure the surface you’re setting up on will support the weight of the truck. Avoid placing outriggers on sidewalks.” An additional consideration is the danger of personnel or other foot traffic underneath the work area. “Never lift loads over personnel or allow personnel to enter the ‘fall zone’ where a falling load could injure or kill them,” says Doud. Monahan suggests properly setting up an exclusion zone to prevent unauthorized people from entering the area where lifting operations are taking place. Enclosed Spaces All of the preceding recommendations remain valid for working in enclosed spaces

as well—with a few extra precautions. Having a working knowledge of the machine’s protection system is crucial to working in tight spaces. “Make sure that all electrical hazards have been locked out or covered up and be aware of any possible obstructions or collision areas,” says Kruger. “Always use a spotter when any part of the boom or load is obstructed from the operator’s view,” says Monahan. “Consider using a radio to facilitate safe and proper communication between the spotter and operator.” New Crane Rules Crane trucks have received a lot of attention in the sign industry in recent months, as new OSHA crane operator certification requirements have been passed down and come into effect after lengthy delays. The new OSHA requirements could impact many shops that are already using cranes. “If the crane is performing construction work and has a maximum manufacturer-rated capacity above 2,000 pounds, then the operator would need to comply with the operator certification requirements,” says Matthew Shaw, program coordinator, Regulatory Affairs and Test Development with the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO). “In jurisdictions where a state or city license is not required, this would mean possessing a valid accredited operator certification. If the jurisdiction does

Pylon Structures Crane trucks are often used for installing signage onto tall, freestanding pylon structures. In these situations, careful attention to the jobsite will help to prevent costly delays or damage. “Set up as close to the structure as possible and ensure there are no overhead obstructions,” recommends Monahan. “Make sure the surface you’re setting up on is solid and that you’re able to level the crane. “Use approved cribbing beneath the signshop.com

January 2019

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mandate licensure that meets OSHA’s criteria, then the operator must hold that license.” Additional requirements are set to come into effect in early 2019. “By February 7, 2019, the employer is required

to assess the operator’s ability to safely operate the equipment via newly established evaluation requirements and also document this evaluation,” says Shaw. “The documentation of the evaluation must be available at the worksite. “If there’s any evidence that the employee requires retraining, the employer must provide this additional training,” adds Shaw. Monahan says many large sign companies already have a certification program in place, so the OSHA rule shouldn’t affect them much. “Companies that don’t have certified operators will be required to utilize one of the OSHA-recognized certification organizations available to ensure that their operator is qualified to operate a lifting device that is rated for lifting more than 2,000 pounds,” he says. Some owners choose to “de-rate” their crane so the rated capacity is less than 2,000 pounds. “This may mean operator certification is not required, but there are still OSHA crane standards that apply

after de-rating,” says Doud, noting these requirements include signal person qualification, availability of instruction/operator manuals, and unit inspections, among several others. (Note: The requirements for cranes with hoisting capacity under 2,000 pounds are described in OSHA Standard 1926.1441.) “Employers should always be aware of any additional crane licensing requirements imposed by the state or local jurisdictions they’re working in,” adds Doud. “We recommend they contact those authorities directly to discuss specifics, rather than rely on word of mouth or internet searches.” The purpose of the OSHA Operator Certification rule is to ensure that a qualified person is operating the lifting device. “While the certification process may be viewed as a hinderance to some in the form of additional costs, it can pay off in the long run by helping to prevent accidents caused by misuse of their equipment,” says Monahan.

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@SBIMag

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Feature GRAPHICS VEHICLE Name By SBI Author STAFF

The Road to

Wrapping I

For one sign shop, vehicle graphics continue to evolve.

n his more than thirty years’ experience as a sign maker, Jeffrey Chudoff, owner of FASTSIGNS® of Maple Shade, New Jersey (#2115), has witnessed the transformation of vehicle graphics printing. Indeed, he has been one of those who helped drive the evolution. (Note: Chudoff operated as an independent sign shop until 2016 when he became part of the FASTSIGNS family.) With a background in business, brand management, and marketing, Chudoff began tinting glass for vehicles ranging from muscle cars to pick-up trucks. Responding to requests for names on windshields, in the mid-’80s, he began supplying and installing cut vinyl lettering (though outsourced at the time). In the mid-’90s, he bought his first large 32

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format inkjet printer for in-house work. Adding the large format printer enabled Chudoff to cut production times, increase margins, and accelerate the development of his business. Chudoff eventually outgrew the 400-square-foot garage where he had been operating and moved to his current 3,200-square-foot location—which also has the benefit of being on a highway with 350,000 vehicles passing by weekly. The Right Tools for the Job The company currently has two Roland printers, an XR-640 and an RF-640. For handling different file formats, color matching, and job management, they use SAi Flexi software. Chudoff uses the clean-up tool on SAi

Flexi to separate a logo from a background to prepare graphics suitable for vehicle wraps. “Sometimes people don’t have logo files,” he explains. “We have to scan a letterhead and work from that. The clean-up tool simplifies the process and means that we can get a result that the customer loves.” Additionally he uses Flexi to produce other signage and photographic wall murals with logos and special effects incorporated. This enables him to exercise creativity, recognize opportunities, and find the best way to produce what the customer wants. Chudoff is not wedded to any particular process. He will use the techniques necessary to realize the concept. At one time, he discovered that ausignshop.com


tomatic photo-processing kiosks, like those found in shopping centers, were capable of printing business cards. He was able to use artwork being prepared for a vehicle wrap to print them, giving his customers a more complete and consistent branding package. The Importance of Vinyl Cut vinyl still accounts for about 40 percent of Chudoff ’s jobs. As in many states, New Jersey requires owner information on commercial vehicles. Many of his customers are small, one-man operations that don’t want or need a wrap, so the cut vinyl solution is enough. The state requires the owner’s name and the name of the municipality where his principal place of business is located, and this must be in letters no less than three inches high. Other customers, explains Chudoff, see vehicle wraps as an important tool for their marketing and brand identity. On this subject, Chudoff is passionate

about the role of the sign maker. “Vehicle wraps have a particular job to do. Viewers have about six seconds to take in the information on a moving car or truck. That information should help the process of remembering them. That can be a logo, a graphic, a photograph, or a typeface,” he says. “The right combination of a photograph with words can mean that it’s 87 percent more likely to be remembered. “It takes people who know about vehicles to do this properly. Following corporate guidelines written by people without the right understanding of vehicles and their variations can result in key elements being placed in difficult-toread positions and failing to communicate the message.”

production, and, of course, software and workflow development have contributed to what is a whole new market segment. Chudoff thinks that the industry needs to keep up the levels of training to ensure that younger people learn the techniques of creating quality wraps and installing them properly. “There is now a sophistication in this market that didn’t exist when I began, and it requires a much more professional approach—and it is important to keep the bar high,” he explains, noting that having the right tools is part of that picture.

Wrap Industry Improvements Chudoff believes the industry has come a long way in the last thirty years. In his eyes, color quality and durability, print speeds, substrates, photographic re-

Restart Your Business in 2019! Is 2019 the year to convert your business to an industry leader? "Prior to converting to FASTSIGNS, I was never able to achieve the sales goals I wanted. The processes and procedures allow me to obtain larger goals."

Photos: FASTSIGNS of Maple Shade, New Jersey.

- Jeff Chudoff , FASTSIGNS of Maple Shade, NJ (Formerly Arizona Designs)

Congratulations Jeff for your outstanding contribution to the sign industry!

For more information: Mark Jameson 214-346-5679 mark.jameson@fastsigns.com | www.fastsigns.com signshop.com

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DIMENSIONals: 3D PRINTING

Special Feature Section Pages 34-40

Adding a New Dimension with

3d Printing

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The writing is on the wall for traditional channel letters.

All Photos: Massivit 3D.

L

et’s face it, whether you’re selling a product or a service, it has never been harder to attract the attention of your target audience than it is today. A recent Forbes article stated that digital marketing experts believe the average American is exposed to a staggering 4,000 to 10,000 adverts every day. With all these brands and different messages bombarding our lives, it’s no wonder then that people have learned to tune out the majority of them. However one marketing medium that remains hard to ignore is channel letters (also referred to as built-up letters). Using this illuminated signage to display your brand name or logo on the side of a building, in a shopping mall, or at a tradeshow continues to help companies stand out from the crowd and attract passing customers. Of course, even this failsafe marketing method needs to work harder in order to compete against an increasing amount of noise. So how can brands up their game when it comes to ensuring their channel letter signage is both more creative and effective? Traditional production methods (using acrylic/aluminum sheets or thermoforming) for these complex signs can only offer so much. Basing the design on 2D graphics that are simply protruded by 90 degrees means that texture, design, angles, and geometries are limited insofar as both conceptualization and production capabilities. In addition, it’s a time-consuming and predominantly manual process to create channel letters using these technologies, which in turn can often have a negative impact on construction costs and delivery times. As such, brands are understandably reluctant to increase the complexity of the design of their channel letters. All of that said, there is light at the end of the tunnel—large format 3D printing technology. Firstly, by creating a design file in 3D signshop.com

from the start, all aspects of the letters can be included in the design process. This means the creative possibilities are limitless here. Brands can incorporate unusual shapes, curves, different angles, side textures, etc. And they needn’t produce just one letter at a time…or even letters at all, for that matter. Suddenly the flexibility and freedom of the 3D printing process enables users to produce cursive words, a complete logo, or graphic elements of the logo (such as a teddy bear, a globe, or a coffee cup). Products and mascots can be printed as separate, eye-catching signs or incorporated within the letters.

Compare this to the challenges that sign makers using aluminum endure when creating letters with an empty cavity (like “O”), and you start to see the tangible benefits this technology delivers such companies. Additional eye-catching features, such as LED lighting or video mapping, can also easily be added to 3D printed channel letters for even greater visual impact. What’s more, the speed at which these complicated, creative signs can be produced using 3D printing technology is significantly higher than using traditional methods. Aside from taking less time and reducing the manual intervention required,

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• Scoring • Routing

the flexibility and freedom of the 3d printing process enables users to produce cursive words, a complete logo, or graphic elements of the logo. large format 3D printers equipped with dual printheads enable the production of two models simultaneously. Reducing the manual elements of the production process also reduces production errors. By amending the design onscreen before sending it to the 3D printer (for example, adjusting the curve of a letter), the user can eliminate any errors and avoid costly iterations altogether. Looking at the clear advantages of 3D printing, it’s no wonder that sign makers serving a wide range of different markets are choosing to expand their business offering and product portfolio by adding 3D printer technology to their production capabilities. Print providers can use these technologies to produce innovative, versatile 3D-printed applications for the advertising, retail, entertainment, events and exhibitions, and interior design industries. In turn, print providers and brands can literally, and creatively, think big insofar as sign and display production. So when it comes to breaking new ground with creative, cost-effective, large-scale signage, such as channel letters, you can write off traditional production methods—large format 3D printing is clearly the way forward. —Matan Weinstein Matan Weinstein is an Application Engineer at Massivit 3D (massivit3d.com), which offers solutions such as the Massivit 1800 Flagship 3D Printer and the Massivit 1500 Exploration 3D Printer. signshop.com


DIMENSIONals: STOREFRONT

‘Tis the Season FOR

dimensional

Exterior signs weather the elements for a seasonal pop-up store.

All Photos: Nonstop Signs, Inc.

F

ounded in San Diego in 2011 by lawyer Evan Mendelsohn and dentist Nick Morton, Tipsy Elves is a retailer of “ugly Christmas sweaters” that espouses a simple mission statement: “We make the world’s most outrageous apparel to make your life more fun.” Tipsy Elves has expanded its “fun” approach into more than twenty clothing categories, including Hawaiian shirts and swim trunks, ski suits, patriotic clothing, Pride (LGBTQ) gear, and Halloween costumes. The company also has opened four pop-up stores across the country—including San Diego, Denver, Dallas, and New York—and is soon to open an additional seasonal store in Santa Clara, California. Nonstop Signs, Inc. (nonstopsigns.com) of Los Angeles, a division of San Diegosignshop.com

based 858 Graphics (858graphics.com) and an industry-leading graphic design, print, and sign business, began working with Tipsy Elves in 2015 to create pop-up store signage and graphics for them. When Tipsy Elves had the opportunity this summer to move to a superior location featuring an exterior entrance at the Westfield UTC mall in San Diego, Nonstop Signs turned to Dibond® aluminum composite material by 3A Composites USA to create affordable exterior dimensional signage that could weather the elements. Not only would this Tipsy Elves’ retail location do business longer than previous seasonal pop-up stores—with an opening in August 2018—it would be filmed for an upcoming success story episode of ABC-TV’s Shark Tank. Tipsy Elves’ design team developed

multiple concepts for store signage, according to Cole Canedy, chief operating officer at 858 Graphics. “They needed everything from interior wall graphics to basic interior signage and exterior lettering,” he said. Nonstop Signs utilized 3mm black Dibond 4-by-8 foot sheets to fabricate a two-layered Tipsy Elves exterior sign, which was cut with a CNC router. Black Dibond panels forming the base layer were seamed together to create the 14-foot-wide-by-27-inch-tall sign. An Océ Arizona 460 GT flatbed printer was used to direct print Tipsy Elves’ lettering in both white and colored UV inks on black Dibond. The CNCrouted cutout lettering was adhered to the black background Dibond layer with 3M 4919F VHB self-adhesive tape. The finished sign was installed directly above

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the store’s exterior entryway with concrete screws. Sintra® PVC board was selected to direct print a smaller, non-dimensional version of the exterior sign for interior installation. Sintra in the Bright White color and 3mm thickness was directprinted and CNC-routed to create the six-foot-wide-by-two-foot-tall sign for wall installation with 3M 4919F VHB self-adhesive tape. Additionally 3mm Bright White Sintra PVC board was selected for direct printing promotional 12-by-16-inch point-of-sale signs placed about the store as well as a 22-by-34-inch sign positioned in a metal frame at the store’s entrance. This Sintra sign extends above the metal frame to display Tipsy Elves’ logo, while smaller printed card stock is inserted on either side with changing promotional messages. Fome-Cor® foam-centered board was selected for direct printing a 9.5-foottall-by-28-inch-wide sign for installa-

tion above a kiosk that allows customers to search for additional styles and sizes available from Tipsy Elves’ online store. Bright White Fome-Cor board with clay-coated paper liners in the 3/16-inch thickness was direct-printed in three sections with a seasonal holiday green background and white lettering and graphics. The sign sections were abutted one above the other and adhered to a wooden frame with adhesive. Additionally Bright White Fome-Cor board in the 1/2-inch thickness was utilized to direct print a non-dimensional Tipsy Elves’ logo sign with CNC-routed lettering. The six-foot-wide-by-two-foottall sign was positioned on a wall near the store’s ball pit play area. “Both the Sintra and Fome-Cor boards are very easy to print,” said Canedy. “We never have problems with these materials.” (Note: Nonstop Signs purchases its 3A Composites’ graphic display boards from the San Diego branch of distributor Piedmont Plastics.)

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Nonstop Signs completed the retail location’s signage and graphics program by printing self-adhesive vinyl graphics for installation on storefront windows and Tipsy Elves’ mission statement for an interior wall. The Tipsy Elves San Diego pop-up store is generating a great deal of attention, according to Canedy, who said the company has ordered additional signs for more locations. “I am happy to see the publicity that our work with Tipsy Elves is getting,” said Canedy. “It’s great to see the growth our company has achieved.” —Brenda Murphy-Niederkorn

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DIMENSIONalS: MONUMENT

A solar sign shines bright.

Historic Project

Photos: ASI.

I

f you didn’t know it was there, you may have driven by the Johnson County Historic Poor Farm in Iowa City, Iowa without much notice. This rustic old farm on the edge of Iowa City was established in 1855 as a place to care for the poor and mentally ill. Today it serves as a window to the past and is available for tours. However, until recently, there was no sign to identify the historic site. So ASI, Iowa (asisignagelatimergroup.com) worked with the Johnson County Board of Supervisors and Confluence Landscape Architecture to create a thoroughly modern sign that pays homage to the farm’s history. At the start, Johnson County expressed interest in making the sign from corten steel, a group of steel alloys that signshop.com

eliminate the need for painting and form a stable rust-like appearance after several years’ exposure to weather. “Johnson County was interested in corten steel because of its rusted metal appearance,” says Bryce Carlson, ASI Sales Consultant. “They also had conceptual designs provided by Confluence Landscape Architecture but gave us freedom to come up with innovative ideas for production.” ASI brought in samples of a faux-corten material that offered the same look as corten steel but was much more budget friendly. To achieve the look, an aluminum panel is primed and then coated with a solution that contains iron flakes. Next a rust activator is sprayed over the top. This causes a reaction that speeds up

the oxidation process. When the desired amount of rust has been achieved, a clear coat is sprayed to stop the rusting process so there will be no runs or drips on its surroundings once the sign is installed. The Board of Supervisors was impressed by the consistent look—and affordable price—of the aluminum alternative. Because of the cost-savings they found using the faux-corten steel, the Board of Supervisors was able to add illumination to the sign, which was not part of the original design. Sustainability is a high priority for Johnson County, and the Board was intrigued by the possibility of adding solar illumination to the sign. ASI designers and production experts worked together to create a stunning sign with OSRAM

January 2019

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HDU Goes to College students at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California are creating sculptures using Precision Board high-density urethane (HDU). It’s all part of instructor Leland Means’ sculpture class. He is exposing the kids to materials they may use in the professional world and empowering them to expand their skill sets. Increasing numbers of schools are introducing their students to HDU tooling as its popularity continues to grow within many high-profile industries. Coastal Enterprises provides their Precision Board HDU substrate to universities around the country as part of the company’s donation program.

The assignments for Leland’s 3D design class include enlarging everyday objects and creating electric guitar prototypes. “It has been a real boon for our students to use a material that they may encounter in the professional world and an empowering experience to be able to create convincing objects using their skill sets,” says Leland. Chuck Miller, president of Coastal Enterprises, adds, “You can tell by the looks on their faces that these students are incredibly proud of their work, as they should be.” To see photos of these electric guitar HDU sculptures, visit https:// bit.ly.2BsWQh6. —Tai Freligh

BackLED® 6500K backlit letters that is entirely solar powered. The limestone base houses the battery that stores the energy from an adjacent solar panel. This self-contained system will power the sign completely off the grid. Coordinating the build took a collaborative approach from ASI to ensure the foundation had space for the solar equipment, access for maintenance, and conduits to run power throughout the sign. “ASI’s hard work made this sign a reality. The supervisors are over the moon about it, and I appreciate all of the communication and on-the-fly maneuvering that made it possible,” says Vanessa FixmerOraiz from Johnson County. “This project is a great example of how we can use innovative materials and technology to go beyond our clients’ expectations to create something that looks great and matches their desired style while giving them more functionality,” says Carlson. —Ashley Bray

SHOP SIGNAGE ALL THINGS

Need materials, equipment, or to outsource a process? Head to our Marketplace Section in the back of the book fb.com/SBIMag

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Product

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43


Shop Talk

By DAVID HICKEY, ISA VICE PRESIDENT, GOV’T. AFFAIRS, ISA

ISA: Seventy-five Years Later Regulations remain a constant now and then.

A

s ISA marks its seventy-fifth anniversary in 2019, I can’t help but imagine what faced the organization then known as the National Electric Sign Association. Just picture what life in 1944 was like for sign makers. The industry was expanding beyond hand lettering and into electric signs, but the country was in the midst of World War II—with all the shortages and rationing that entailed. Presidential orders froze wages. By the time NESA turned twenty-five, there was a new federal regulation—the Highway Beautification Act—that allowed state highway departments to control billboards; many communities applied the standards to on-premise signs. Anyone who has been paying attention to today’s regulatory issues will notice some familiar themes. So it only seems fitting that, as we look back at ISA’s seventy-fifth anniversary, we also

look forward to the new challenges and opportunities that the new year brings. Presidential executive orders may address a couple of workforce issues. There are reports that President Trump may issue executive orders rolling back two Obama-era workforce rules that significantly impacted the sign, graphics, and visual communications industry. One focuses on the expansion of who is eligible for overtime. The Obama overtime rule was struck down by a Texas court, but the Trump administration is expected to tweak it anyway. President Obama expanded overtime eligibility to those who made less than $47,000 per year—more than double the previous figure. It is expected that the Trump administration will propose a figure higher than the original $23,000 but well below what President Obama proposed. The other workforce regulation focuses on the definition of a joint employer.

Sign Builder Illustrated (Print ISSN 895-0555, Digital ISSN 2161-4709) (USPS#0015805) (Canada Post Cust. #7204564; Agreement #40612608; IMEX Po Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2, Canada) is published monthly by Simmons-Boardman Publ. Corp, 55 Broad St. 26th Floor, New York, NY 10004. Printed in the U.S.A. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and Additional mailing offices.

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Pricing, Qualified individual working in the sign industry may request a free subscription. Non-qualified subscriptions Print version, Digital version, Both Print & Digital versions: 1 year US/Canada/Mexico $50.00; foreign $99.00. Single Copies are $15.00 ea. Subscriptions must be paid for in U.S. funds only.

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COPYRIGHT © Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation 2019. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without permission. For reprint information, contact: Arthur Sutley, Publisher (212) 620-7247 or asutley@sbpub.com

While this action focused primarily on the franchisor/franchisee relationship, it could have been broadly applied. The Obama rule would have allowed unions to target a company’s headquarters, with all franchisees falling under the same rule. Untested and unknown is whether that interpretation also would apply to subcontractors (a much larger issue in our industry). Those presidential actions, though, may not be the greatest issue facing our industry. Several lawsuits that attempt to redefine distinctions between on- and off-premise signs are making their way through the courts. At press time, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals had not issued a ruling in Thomas v. Schroer. At issue here is a billboard owner’s violation of the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s rules regulating billboards along state corridors. (Note: Those regulations, ironically, come as a result of the Highway Beautification Act.) Lower court rulings have found that the state violated the billboard owner’s free speech rights by banning billboards that did not promote an on-premise business. While the Sixth Circuit’s actions will apply to Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan only, it is likely that this case will make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Obviously I believe there are unique differences between on-premise and offpremise signs, and ISA has supported keeping the distinctions. No matter what the future holds— with court rulings and presidential actions—ISA will continue to keep you informed about these actions and to fight on your behalf. It’s something that the founding members of ISA no doubt discovered when they began the organization in 1944: When we all pull together to advocate on behalf of our industry, we are all the better for it.

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Sign Builder Illustrated, PO Box 1407, Cedar Rapids, IA. 52406-1407. Instructional information provided in this magazine should only be performed by skilled crafts people with the proper equipment. The publisher and authors of information provided herein advise all readers to exercise care when engaging in any of the how-to-activities published in the magazine. Further, the publisher and authors assume no liability for damages or injuries resulting from projects contained herein.

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Photo: Shutterstock/ Colin Dewar.

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Profile for Sign Builder Illustrated

Sign Builder Illustrated January 2019  

This issue features stories on digital displays, channel letters, vehicle wraps, wayfinding, service equipment, and a special spotlight on d...

Sign Builder Illustrated January 2019  

This issue features stories on digital displays, channel letters, vehicle wraps, wayfinding, service equipment, and a special spotlight on d...